Return of the Wheatears

 

Wheatears are back, and within days, they will be so abundant that I will stop noticing them.

Swallows don’t arrive on the Chayne until the end of April, so the best indicator we have of spring is the arrival of wheatears. These pretty little rude boys arrive at the end of March after a long journey from East Africa, and they stay until early in September. I saw the first one of the year this morning as it fluttered infront of the car, and it was a great reminder (as if it was needed) of spring.

As I drove up to the Chayne, the local radio station was yammering on about the arrival of summer after the clocks came forward yesterday. Judging by the language the DJ was using, he took off his duffel coat on the stroke of midnight on Saturday and pulled on a pair of Hawaiian shorts. It seems senseless to measure the changing of the seasons by human calendars, as everything happens at different times each year. It’s certainly not “summer” yet in Galloway, and it has been what I would describe as “spring” for the past 10 days. The only thing that has changed is the acronym for our timezone, and the problem I now face with having to get up an hour earlier when I want to go up and watch the leks.

As it is, we witnessed the meaningless transition from “winter” into “summer” of everything from Cornwall to Caithness  on Saturday night. It would be a more logical world if the changing seasons were guaged by what the wildlife is doing, but I suppose that that’s just being silly…

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